His first impulse was to rush after her. But he did not.
He stood in the middle of the path, staring after her. Then
he looked down at the spot where, before his arrival, she had
been digging. There lay the old, rusty trowel, which she
had grasped with her small and inadequate fingers. Not
four square feet of the soil was turned up, and that had
merely been pecked at with the useless instrument. As he
looked, a sadness overcame him, more than sadness, a despair
that seemed to well from some profound truth that he had
never before suspected, and that even now was veiled from
Mr. Munn had gone down with Captain Todd to the
Association warehouse in Bardsville one afternoon a couple
of weeks later to inspect an extension that was almost com-
pleted, when Mr. Christian came to tell him the whole truth
about Senator Tolliver.
"There's some chance those sheds'll never be filled/' the
Captain had commented gravely as they left the new section
and went back into the pungent gloom of the main ware-
house. " But even if we could have broken the contract for
the new building, to do it would've just been a way of saying
we were half-licked already."
"It's hard," Mr. Munn had said, standing there in the
middle of the floor under the high, shadowy rafters and
beams. " It's hard to know what to do. Where to strike."
" Win the suit. That's first."
" That's just one thing. If everything could just be brought
together at one time, one place, just so you could fight it and
have it over "—he had raised his right fist slowly—" so you
could get at it, all at once." He had brought his fist hard
into the palm of his left hand with a solid, smacking sound:
Captain Todd had peered at him in the dim light, and an-'
swered: " No, Perse. No way in the world. Never a time in
a man's life when everything is like that, so you can just lift
up your hand, and win or lose and settle everything. Almost